Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Semantics circle: Notes on evidentiality and illocutionary force

Speaker Gabriel Martinez Vera
Affiliaton(s) Newcastle University
Date 31.05.2024, 14:00 - 15:30 Uhr
Time 14:00 o'clock
Venue ZAS, Pariser Str. 1, 10719 Berlin; Room: Ilse-Zimmermann-Saal 0.32 (Ground floor)


This presentation examines Faller’s (2019) proposal to account for discourse commitments and reportative evidentiality in declarative clauses based on (i) the illocutionary force of presentation and (ii) the Collaborative Principle (Walker 1996). Key for (i) are a principal and an animator (Goffman 1974). The latter presents a proposition but need not be committed to its truth; the commitment lies in the principal—this characterizes reportative evidentials. In their absence (i.e., the default case), the animator and the principal are the same individual; assertion follows from this. As for (ii), the absence of overt disagreement towards the at-issue proposition means that the animator intends to resolve the question under discussion with it. Based on evidence from the reportative dizque in American Spanish and the direct -∅ in Southern Aymara, I propose that the only thing that presentation does is to put an issue on the table—importantly, there are no “defaults” tied to the denotation of presentation in the sense of Faller. I further revise the Collaborative Principle such that the discourse participants’commitment to the truth of the at-issue proposition, as well as to having adequate evidence for it followfrom this principle—ultimately, this seems reducible to Grice’s maxim of quality. In this approach, assertion arises as a result of presentation and pragmatic strengthening.